Lions OC Ben Johnson working with Jared Goff to find best version of the quarterback

Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson talks with reporters before OTAs on Thursday, June 2, 2022, in Allen Park.Lions
Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson talks with reporters before OTAs on Thursday, June 2, 2022, in Allen Park.Lions /

After a good closing stretch last season, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is working with Jared Goff to find the best version of the signal caller.

Over the final several weeks of last season, spanning his final five starts, Lions quarterback Jared Goff was among the highest-rated passers in the NFL (107.1) with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. The Lions also went 3-2 in those games.

Head coach Dan Campbell is not ready to say who will call the offensive plays for the Lions. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson may get the duties, but without or without calling the plays one of his tasks is to get the best out of Goff over the full season this year. The 2022 campaign is a make-or-break year for Goff.

Johnson spoke to the media at Lions’ OTAs on Thursday. He talked about working closely with Goff.

Ben Johnson trying to find the absolute best version of Jared Goff

Here’s what Johnson had to say, via Pride of Detroit:

"One thing that we’ve done is included him a lot in what we’re trying to do schematically, and so we spent some time this offseason watching more of the stuff he did a few years ago in LA and how we can incorporate some of that,”I know play-action is something he’s really good at, and we’re going to look at doing that,” Johnson said. “It’s really a strength of our offense as well. We’re going to be a really good running team, so that’s going to show up on Sundays is the play-action and the movement game.”"

Last season, the Lions ran the 26th-most play action passes in the league (108). In 2018, the season Goff set most of his career-highs, including 32 touchdown passes and a 101.1 passer rating, the Rams ran play-action at the highest rate in the league (according to Football Outsiders) with the third-best efficiency on play-action passes.

The Rams remained play-action heavy in Goff’s worst two seasons with them, but his efficiency as a play-action passer dropped dramatically, seemingly in line with their running game not being elite as Todd Gurley quickly declined. That said, rushing success (or improved rushing success) doesn’t totally correlate to effective play-action passing.

In any case, Johnson wants to find the best version of Goff and is working closely with him to find it. No matter the results that do or do not come as a result, it’s clear the coach and the quarterback are connecting in a way Goff never seemed to with then-offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn last year.

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